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CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS AND APPROACH TO HYPERKALEMIA UC-Irvine Internal Medicine Mini-Lecture Series.

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Presentation on theme: "CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS AND APPROACH TO HYPERKALEMIA UC-Irvine Internal Medicine Mini-Lecture Series."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS AND APPROACH TO HYPERKALEMIA UC-Irvine Internal Medicine Mini-Lecture Series

2 Objectives 1. Understand diagnosis of hyperkalemia based on clinical data 2. Understand ECG changes present in hyperkalemic states 3. Understand treatment/therapy approaches available for hyperkalemia

3 Clinical Scenario A 52-year-old man with hypertension and diabetes complains of weakness, nausea, and a general sense of illness, that has progressed slowly over 3 days. His medications include a sulonylurea, a diuretic, and an ACE inhibitor. On examination, he appears lethargic and ill. His BP is 154/105 mm Hg, HR 70bpm, temperature 98.6° F, and respiratory rate 22 breaths/min. The physical examination reveals moderate jugular venous distension, some minor bibasilar rales, and lower extremity edema. He is oriented to person and place but is able to give further history. The ECG shows a wide complex rhythm. Laboratory studies performed are significant for potassium 7.8 mEq/L, BUN is 114 mg/dL and creatinine is 10.5.

4 Diagnostics/Images: ECG

5 ECG Changes of Hyperkalemia Easily Distinguished ECG signs:  peaked T wave.  prolongation of the PR interval  ST changes (which may mimic myocardial infarction)  very wide QRS, which may progress to a sine wave pattern and asystole. Patients may have severe hyperkalemia with minimal ECG changes, and prominent ECG changes with mild hyperkalemia.

6 Analysis Diagnosis: Hyperkalemia- Severe  Classification of Hyperkalemia  NORMAL: 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L.  MILD: 5.5 to 6.0 mEq/L  SEVERE: Levels of 7.0 mEq/L or greater It is important to suspect this condition from the history and ECG, because laboratory test results may be delayed and the patient could die before those test results become available.

7 Therapy Approach BIG K Drop  B - beta agonists, bicarbonate  I - Insulin  G - Glucose  K - Kayexulate, Calcium  D - Diuretics, Dialysis

8 1 st Line option

9 Reference: Hollander JC, Calvert CJ. Hyperkalemia. Am Fam Physician 2006; 73:283-90, Figure 2.

10 Clinical Pearls Symptoms of hyperkalemia are usually nonspecific, so risk factors must be used to suspect the diagnosis ECG changes consistent with hyperkalemia should be treated immediately as a life-threatening emergency. Do not await laboratory confirmation. Intravenous calcium is the antidote of choice for life-threatening arrhythmias related to hyperkalemia, but its effect is brief and additional agents must be used

11 Comprehension Questions QUESTION 1: A 55-year-old man presents in cardiac arrest. A dialysis fistula is present in the right arm. In addition to standard ACLS therapies, which of the following is most appropriate for this patient? A. 25 g of 50% dextrose, IV push. B. Sodium bicarbonate, 50-mL IV push. C. Begin immediate hemodialysis. D. Calcium gluconate, slow intravenous push. QUESTION 2: A 45-year-old man is brought into the emergency center due to significant dehydration and weakness. His potassium level is noted to be 7 mEq/L. Which of the following statements is most accurate regarding his potassium level? A. Hyperkalemia can usually be diagnosed by symptoms alone. B. An ECG showing peaked T waves means the patient is stable and treatment can safely wait until laboratory results are obtained. C. Hyperkalemia can mimic a myocardial infarction on the ECG. D. Hyperkalemia is synonymous with kidney disease.

12 Comprehension Questions QUESTION 3: Which of the following statements regarding treatment of hyperkalemia in patients with some renal function is incorrect? A. Administration of normal saline may hasten the excretion of potassium. B. Administration of furosemide can hasten the excretion of potassium. C. The combination of saline with a diuretic is often indicated because hyperkalemic patients are frequently dehydrated. D. Patients with some renal function do not need dialysis even for severe hyperkalemia. QUESTION 4: A patient with severe renal disease is found to have hyperkalemia, with tall, peaked T waves on ECG. Vascular access cannot be readily obtained, but vital signs are stable. Which of the following would be appropriate temporizing measures? A. Inhaled albuterol 2.5 mg in 3 mL saline B. Oral sodium bicarbonate with rectal sodium polystyrene sulfonate C. Inhaled albuterol 20 mg, with oral or rectal sodium polystyrene sulfonate, 30 g D. Oral dextrose 25 g

13 References Evans KJ, Greenberg A. Hyperkalemia: a review. J Intensive Care Med Sep-Oct;20(5): Kamel KS, Wei C. Controversial issues in the treatment of hyperkalaemia. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2003;18: Sood MM, Sood AR, Richardson R. Emergency management and commonly encountered outpatient scenarios in patients with hyperkalemia. Mayo Clin Proc Dec; 82(12): Hollander JC, Calvert CJ. Hyperkalemia. Am Fam Physician 2006; 73:283-90


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